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Elizabeth R. DeSombre
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Elizabeth R. DeSombre

Wellesley College

Fellowship year

2024 - Wellesley College - Study 35

Beth DeSombre will spend her fellowship year working on a book about environmental policy. This project argues that, despite this initial cost of most regulation, it sets the stage for predictable systems evolution —driven by the concerns of those for whom regulation is costly —that ultimately makes environmental policy cheaper and easier than anyone initially anticipates. Ascertaining which types of policies have the greatest systems evolutionary potential, and which can enable further policy action, can help policymakers target regulation so that it has the most benefit environmentally and creates the least socioeconomic harm. 

DeSombre is the Camilla Chandler Frost Professor of Environmental Studies at Wellesley College. Much of her work is on international environmental politics, with a focus on issues of the global commons, particularly oceans. Recent research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada, and the Social Science Research Council. She has published eight books, including Why Good People Do Bad Environmental Things (Oxford University Press, 2018). Her first book, Domestic Sources of International Environmental Policy: Industry, Environmentalists, and U.S. Power (MIT Press, 2000) won two book prizes. She is also a folk singer-songwriter.